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Crowdfunding Part 1—The Fundraising Fad, Turned Staple

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Crowdfunding has been around and gaining steam since 2006, with a major gear-up in 2009 when Kickstarter launched. As most fads go, you think that it would have died down by now, but it’s quite the contrary. 

Crowdfunding is defined as “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” And raised it has—bringing in billions (BILLIONS!) of dollars each year, with a steady increase (up 50 percent from 2012 to 2013) that doesn’t seem to be letting up.

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If you haven’t tried a crowdfunding campaign yet, or if you’re looking for fresh new ways to coral your followers, we’ve got you covered—from beginner to veteran crowd-surfer. These articles will help you fully understand crowdfunding and the different options available, the pro’s and con’s to running a campaign, when you should (and shouldn’t) resort to crowdfunding and some inspirational campaigns that will give you the extra push you need!

Crowdfunding’s Epic Growth [INFOGRAPHIC] (Clarity): Need more proof that the crowdfunding economy is on the rise? Check out this infographic that shows the what, who and how of crowdfunding. Topping the list of popular crowdfunding categories are social causes, reaping nearly 30 percent of the crowdfunding benefits in 2013.

Raising Money For Your Business Through Crowdfunding (Business Tutsplus): As with all campaigns there are advantages and disadvantages to using crowdfunding to raise money. However, starting with the right route (rewards or equity), launching early, aiming low and creating a buzz everywhere will give you the edge to be successful. Bonus: you’ll win a few new fans along the way that could become repeat donors!

Top 10 Business Crowdfunding Campaigns Of All Time (Forbes): With the passing of the JOBS Act in April 2012, businesses were granted permission to publicly advertise that they were seeking investments. From that point on businesses became leaders in crowdfunding, and entruprenuers’ hopes and dreams came alive through this new and exciting investment maker. So what do these businesses have to do with your nonprofit? Well for one, they were highly successful, so you should take note of their techniques. And two, they’re essentially your competition, but if you find a way to partner with them they could become your benefactor. Two crowdfunders are better than one.

Crowdfunding for Nonprofits (SSIReview): One thing’s for sure when it comes to crowdfunding: you’re not alone. Since you’re not the first one to launch a crowdfunding campaign, you’re certainly not the first one to have questions, concerns and doubts. These five common questions will set you at ease and help you craft the perfect approach for your first crowdfunding experience.

Nonprofit Crowdfunding Risks (Nonprofit Law Blog): Before you jump into anything, you want to be aware of the risks and consequences. Crowdfunding is no different. Since this campaign technique allows you solicit money worldwide, you must be aware of the charitable solicitation registrations across the world. For instance, soliciting money in California could have different laws and regulations than New York, Canada or anywhere else in the world. Review the risks before you launch—it could make or break your campaign.

10 Commandments of Nonprofit Crowdfunding (Give Effect): No matter what your beliefs, everyone needs a “bible” to follow. When it comes to crowdfunding this is the bible to refer to. When your mind starts to wander and you become worrisome about your crowdfunding campaign and whether it will be successful, turn to these important commandments. 

Where Crowdfunding Will Go From Here [INFOGRAPHIC] (Crowdsourcing): Research estimates $5.1 billion has been raises with crowdfunding so far in 2014—double the amount raised in all of 2012. Where will equity crowdfunding, self-run campaigns, niche platforms and international campaigns go from here? With a rate of 63 percent increase per year, the guess is it can only go up!

How to Decide if You Should Start a Crowd-Funding Campaign for Your Non-Profit (The Fundraising Authority): Nonprofit crowdfunding campaigns are not one-size fits all. Furthermore, not every fundraising campaign should instantly be a crowdfunding campaign. This article will help you decide whether your campaign should go the crowdfunding route, and if it will really be successful.

Will the Rise of Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding Help Unemployed Young People? (Crowdsourcing): Several articles have been popping up that suggest crowdsourcing may help to ease unemployment for younger people who are caught in the experience vs. employment loop. They can’t get work because they don’t have experience, and they can’t get experience because they haven’t been employed. However, building a resume filled with crowdsourced work and references is giving young people that extra edge that they to find full-time employment.

Bonus Resources!

This article on annual giving trends tells you how to incorporate crowdfunding in your fundraising plan from the get-go.

Additional crowdfunding resources can be found on the AFP Nonprofit Technology Blog.

And if you need a little inspiration while you’re working on your crowdfunding campaign, just crank the crowdfunding song.

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